Seniors learn how to stay connected with Facebook classes

Ancelene MacKinnon
Published on May 26, 2014
Joan Denoon was one of many seniors at Credit Union Place recently for the East Prince Seniors Initiative class on learning to use Facebook.
Ancelene MacKinnon/Journal Pioneer

SUMMERSIDE – Staying connected with friends and family is easy thanks to the online social networking service of Facebook. However, for some people, including seniors, it can require a little more effort.

That’s why the East Prince Seniors Initiative at the Credit Union Place holds free-of-cost classes for seniors to learn to navigate the Internet and other computer-related functions.

The most recent class dealt with Facebook theory, and this Thursday will conclude with the hands-on portion of the lesson.

Joan Denoon attended and frequents the different classes offered there.

The 78-year-old said she has a son in Ontario and another in Edmonton, and thinks Facebook is an effective way to keep in touch with her great-grandchildren, granddaughter, and friends.

“I find it’s a good way to share pictures and it’s great to stay updated on the kids.”

Denoon said she purchased a MacBook Pro recently and she’s referred to as ‘Grandma Geek’ by her family because she likes to stay up to date with technology.

She thinks the classes will put an end to her frustrations.

“I persevere and I get along quite well. I just wanted to know the proper way instead of fumbling through it.”

For her, the classes are a great way to be social.

“It’s wonderful. I think it was a gift for this place to be here.”

Gloria Schurman is the executive director for EPSI, and she said learning to use the computer can be complicated for seniors because it isn’t something they grew up with.

“If you have never done any of it, it’s a lot. If you eased into it over the years, it isn’t so bad.”

They can feel like they’re being left behind with not knowing how to do these things, added Schurman.

“Some seniors don’t get out that much and having the Internet and that connection can be important.”

She said EPSI offers a variety of classes from drawing to woodcarving, and have held around 250 sessions with over 2,000 people.

“We’re really lucky because we have so many people in the community who will come in and do this for free. The sky’s the limit.”

Seward Bouchie is a member of the EPSI board and teaches classes, like the Facebook sessions.

He has a background in computer technology and enjoys helping people get to the point where they’re comfortable with it.

“It’s wonderful to watch people when they start off and they’re very hesitant, and in a short time to see their faces light up with what they can do.”

Bouchie said it’s great to see so many seniors participating.

“It gives them confidence with the skills they’re learning.